We’re at the halfway point of the Major League season. Small sample sizes no longer exist. The numbers in the win-loss column, the numbers on the back of the baseball card, they are no longer a trend. They are the truth.
We know who is good. We know who is bad. We know who is somewhere in between.
1) The St. Louis Cardinals are good.
For most of the 2013 calendar year, the Redbirds have had the best record in baseball.
St. Louis owned the best record in the National League from May 2 until June 28. They owned the best record in Major League Baseball from May 21 to June 28.
As Bill Parcells famously said, “You are what your record says you are.”
Of course, the Cardinals record now says they are only the second best team in the majors behind the NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s fine. Standings will fluctuate over the course of 162 games. As long as a team is consistently near the top, it’s not a fluke.
St. Louis has only lost more than two games in a row twice this season (both losing streaks ended at three games). Their longest win streak this season is a modest six games.
Plus, St. Louis ranks in the Top-5 in all of Major League baseball in these pertinent categories:
- 401 runs scored – 3rd (1st in NL)
- 289 runs allowed – 3rd
- 4.95 runs/game – 2nd (1st in NL)
- 3.57 runs allowed/game – 3rd
- +112 run differential – 1st
- .334 on base percentage – 3rd (1st in NL)
- .274 batting average – 3rd (1st in NL)
- 3.32 ERA – 3rd
- 6 complete games – 1st
- 9 team shutouts – 3rd (2nd in NL)
- 1.192 WHIP – 4th
- 0.6 HR/9 innings – 1st
- 3.16 K/BB ratio – 2nd (1st in NL)
Basically, they pitch and hit well. That will win you ball games all summer long.
2) Cardinals 1st Half MVP = C Yadier Molina
Seamlessly, Yadier Molina took the torch that Albert Pujols left in the Gateway City and laid claim to best player in the organization. Molina has also raised his level of overall play to “St. Louis Pujols-ian” levels.
He’s a legitimate MVP candidate, not just because of his defense, but because he is also a feared hitter. He leads the National League with a .345 average and 26 doubles.
You don’t need me to tell you that he’s still the gold standard as a backstop. NOBODY shuts down a running game, while simultaneously calling a better game than Yadier Molina.
Not only is he the Cards first half MVP, he’s in serious discussion for league MVP.
*The bold indicates numbers he leads the league in.
3) Cardinals 1st Half Cy Young = SP Adam Wainwright